Callum Beattie on the trials of making it in music

Scottish singer Callum Beattie says he is finally reaping rewards after 17 years of trying to carve out a career in the music industry.

In the early days, he would play his guitar in snow and freezing cold outside Edinburgh's Usher Hall in the hope of having his music heard.

This year, he will perform two sold-out gigs in the venue, and he is the penultimate main stage act before Deacon Blue close July's Belladrum music festival.

But Beattie says: "If I ever had children and they said: 'Dad, I want to be a famous singer' I would do everything in my power to advise them against it because of the traumas you have to go through - and the rejection."

'A thick skin'

Beattie jokes the lines on his face are from years of graft and rejection.

"I must have played thousands and thousands of gigs, and I've busked and played at funerals and weddings," he says.

"But that's what it takes to get your music heard."

Beattie, whose hits include Salamander Street and Vandals, says dealing with knock-backs have been among his biggest challenges.

"I used to stand at the back of the Usher Hall handing out demos to Ed Sheeran or whoever was playing.

"I remember once, it might have been Tom Odell who was playing, it was snowing and I was standing outside with my guitar waiting for them to come off stage and get into their car in the hope they would hear my music and maybe help me.

"Nothing ever transpired."

He adds: "I've had to develop a thick skin, something I'd never had before.

"I'm kind of surprised I have managed it this long, but here we are and it's nice to be reaping some of the benefits."

Callum Beattie
Callum Beattie at Glasgow's TRNSMT in 2022 [Getty Images]

Beattie is currently touring England and Wales, but this summer returns to his home city of Edinburgh and then later the Highlands for the 20th anniversary Belladrum Tartan Heart festival.

He says: "It's nice to now go from where I stood outside that building in the freezing snow to playing two sold-out nights.

"It's a pinch yourself moment."

Beattie adds: "Things like Belladrum - getting on that stage before Deacon Blue - it sounds like a cliché, but it is a dream come true.

"It feels like all the graft and rejection is worth it."

'Proud patron'

Beattie, whose other songs include Easter Road, Don't Walk Alone and We Are Stars, regularly plays in the Highlands after supporting KT Tunstall on a tour about seven years ago.

Since then, he has had gigs in Inverness and Strathpeffer.

He also has a connection to the area through his charity work.

Beattie and his manager Dave Rodgers have in the last three years raised £600,000 for causes across Scotland, including organisations helping children with cancer and people who are homeless.

In the Highlands this work has involved Mikeysline, a charity set up in 2015 to support young people dealing with depression and suicidal thoughts.

Beattie says: "I am very proud to be the patron of Mikeysline."

He has written a song for the charity. It has still to be released but Beattie hopes to play it live in the near future.

"It's a mental health based song telling people it's OK not to be OK and we can talk about these things," he says.

Beattie is due to head into a studio in September to finish work on other new material and record a new album.

He says: "I am just putting the finishing pieces to the actual writing process.

"But it sounds great - in my head anyway."

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